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Nucleation by Kimberly Unger #BookReview

We are live, we are live, we are live. . .

Helen Vectorovich holds the unique distinction of failing at first contact―and she did it in both virtual reality and outer space.

Only the most elite teams of operators and navigators get to pilot in remote space-mining operations. And no one was better than Helen and her navigator. Together they secured a multibillion contract for establishing an interstellar gate to a distant star. But during a routine mission, what should have been an easy success turned deadly.

Helen, grounded in a desk job, has overeager junior pilots jockeying to take her place, jealous corporate rivals, and nasty rumors blaming her for the botched mission. Meanwhile, Helen’s new discovery in space―the Scale―seems to be . . . evolving.

When someone―or something―wants to terminate her project, Helen must race to find out why before it is far too late.

Nucleation by Kimberly Unger cover art

Title: Kimberly Unger | Author: Kimberly Unger | Publisher: Tachyon Publications | Pub. Date: 2020-November-13 | Language: English | ISBN13: 978-1616963385 | Source: I received a copy of this book from Netgalley for review consideration | Genre: Science Fiction | Unstarred Review

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Nucleation Review

Virtual reality (VR) combines with an outer space mission in this sci-fi thriller. Helen Vectorovich is the VR operator of spider-like machine positioned billions of miles away from the Earth. Her purpose is to use the machine and a form of nanotechnology called eenies to create an interstellar gateway to a distant star and further space exploration. A mission fails and this leads to murder and the uncovering of corruption.

I selected this book because the idea of pilot operating space machinery from the safety of Earth interested me. The book started with a bang. A routine mission goes mysteriously wrong and results in catastrophic failure. Unfortunately, the action dwindles and by the middle of the book, much of the story’s dynamic beginning was replaced with technical jargon and slow reactions scenes. Things pick up in Act Three, and there are a few twists I didn’t see coming. I also really enjoyed Helen’s dynamic personality. She’s a powerful force in a competitive environment, although her struggles became repetitive. However, the other characters are not given as much thought of development, which makes it difficult to cheer for them, or feel empathy when hardships arise.

I would also have loved to see more of this creative storyworld. The story doesn’t expand on this alternative future where we’re exploring space and trying to open portals to new worlds. The plot predominately takes place in the same few settings, which becomes monotonous. Also, there is a “first contact” tease which doesn’t live up to the hype. I think if the story had been condensed and the action scenes hyped with greater detail to character development, it would have held my attention better. I still recommend it to readers interested in heavy tech science fiction, but it didn’t work for me.

You can find this book at many retailers via clicking on the appropriate link on Goodreads (Buying direct from retailers is a good way to support indie authors); however, in the spirit of supporting literacy programs, we would like to point out that you may be able to purchase this book through BetterWorldBooks.

Published inScience Fiction Book ReviewsUncategorizedUnstarred Reviews
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